By Tom Sims
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – It’s out with expressionism and in with up-and-coming contemporary art for Deutsche Bank, which plans to auction some 200 pieces from its extensive collection.
Germany’s biggest bank, which says it owns 55,000 works of art despite a recent streamlining, held its previous sales privately rather than at public auctions.
Deutsche and its staff have been through a torrid few years and is in the process of cutting 18,000 jobs and exiting some businesses after years of losses.
Over the past year, Deutsche has sold a large triptych by Gerhard Richter that hung in the lobby of its Wall Street office in preparation for a move to a smaller midtown office.
It expects to raise more than 10 million euros ($11.8 million) from the planned sale, which will include works from artists including Paul Klee, Max Beckmann, and Hans Hartung.
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The bank said on Thursday it would reinvest a “significant portion” of the auction proceeds in up-and-coming artists.
“We decided really to focus only on contemporary art,” Friedhelm Huette, head of Deutsche’s art activities, said.
Deutsche began accumulating art for its offices, lobbies and conference rooms around the globe and as the collection grew, it became a powerful marketing tool, Huette said.
“It’s really part of our corporate identity, the DNA of Deutsche Bank,” he added.
Christie’s in London and Paris and Ketterer Kunst of Munich will manage the sales over the next three years, kicking off this month with an auction in Paris.
“The bank couldn’t have chosen a better time for the sale … Our past record auction in July has proven how strong the demand for top quality currently is,” said Robert Ketterer, adding the sale was “good news for a hungry art market”.
($1 = 0.8506 euros)
(Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Alexander Smith)